THE 18 Ps ofINBOUNDMARKETINGBy Paul Cash, Author of “In Remarkable we trust” http://tinyurl.com/bb5r8o7
The P was popularized in marketing back in the 1960swith E. Jerome McCarthy’s Four Ps and the Marketing Mix.Due to recent changes in the businessand marketing landscape it’s time torevitalize the power of the letter P tosomething even more representative ofthe challenges we all face to move froma push to a pull based model. My Eighteen (18) P model is designed as a checklist and GPS device that can help guide you through the complex challenges business leaders and marketers face in this increasingly multi-channel world.
1: PURPOSEWhy does your businessexist above and beyondmaking a profit?Research from Harvard andStanford indicates that the mostsuccessful companies, both inprofitability and longevity, are theones who recognize the absolutenecessity of profits as well as theequally high necessity of havinga purpose beyond shareholderwealth.
2: PEOPLEWe are living in the‘People Power Age’.Never has it been moreimportant to over commit tothe needs and aspirations ofyour customers, love youremployees and take action tohelp improve the communitiesand societies in which youoperate.
3: POINT OF VIEWIn a world of increasingcompetition and a lackof true differentiation thereal battle ground is inthe minds of yourcustomers.Having a strong point-of-viewabout the category and marketin which you operate andexercising this through ‘thoughtleadership’ programmes iscritical for both market leadersand challengers alike.
4: PROFITSWhat a company doeswith the profits it makes isequally important as howit makes them.Milton Friedman’s viewpopularised through the 70s torecent times was that the ultimatesocial responsibility of businesswas to generate profits for itsshareholders. He went further tosuggest any deviation from this byway of corporate philanthropywould eventually be a cost thatwould get born by the consumer.The reality today is that a new andmore compassionate Capitalism isemerging: one that gives equalemphasis to people, profits andplanet – the so-called ‘triplebottom line’.
5: PASSIONOne of the new areas ofbrand development is inthe field of implicitcommunications.Think of it like brand’ bodylanguage’ i.e. the non-verbalcues or signals you emit as abrand that your customers pickup on. Showing your passionand that of your employees byway of social responsibility andsustainability initiatives is agreat way to reflect the trueenergy and culture within acompany. This is a difficult onefor most brands to measure buthugely important for people‘looking in’ on your business.
6: PLANETThe sustainability agendain many corporations hasbecome a huge factor intheir ongoing businessstrategy.Not many would argue that in thepast 50 years ‘big business’ hasdamaged the health of the world.One of the most exciting trends inbusiness today is how we goabout ‘unfu*king the planet’.Forward thinking corporations andbrands are concerned with trust,reputation and legacy not justprofit, profit, profit. Think beyondyour own balance sheet, what areyou doing to help repair theplanet?
7: PERFORMANCEWe will always have coreeconomic indicators thatare often unique to certainsectors i.e. profit persquare foot for retailers orchurn figures for telecomvendors.The key change in recent times isto be more reflective on the realperformance indicators that drivebusiness success:1: How does your culture andemployee engagement levelsstimulate success?2: How does your sustainabilityagenda and beliefs help increasethe performance of your supplychain?3: How does being easy-to-dobusiness with drive loyalty?
8: PARTNERSHIPSTransparency of what youdo has never beengreater.For most companies their partnersand supply chain form an integralpart of their go-to-market strategy.We’ve seen in recent weeks theissue of contaminated horsemeatin frozen processed foods and theissue this has caused brands likeTesco, Burger King and Ikea.Your partnership strategy,especially for brands that sell‘indirect’ can have a massiveimpact on the reputation of yourbrand. The key is to work withpartners and suppliers that shareyour purpose and beliefs in thehope that together you can bebetter!
9: PARTICIPATIONAnother great buzz wordof the social era but onethat probably deserves allthe hype it gets.It’s not rocket science tounderstand the positive impact thatcan be achieved by allowing yourcustomers and employees toparticipate more in the running ofyour business. From a customerperspective brands like Starbuckshave seen huge WINS with theirMy Starbucks idea web site and ona corporate level companies likeJive Software are allowing largecorporations to tap into the vastintellectual capital of theiremployees by creating enterpriseplatforms to facilitate this.
10: PROMISEOne of the less fashionableaspects of branding thesedays seems to be the humble‘brand promise’.Making them is easy, keeping them isthe hard part. In periods of marketinstability with pressures on costsand high staff turnover a brandspromise can often be the first thingto suffer. Your promise however iscentral to everything you do andshould be informed from yourpurpose and vision. It must be clear,compelling, concise and credible. Itneeds to act as a rallying call to allyour employees and a lighthouse toyour customers. Most importantly itneeds to flow from your CEO to everytouch point of your business.
11: PRIDEWe talk a lot these daysabout trust, integrity andauthenticity as desiredoutcomes that all brandsgravitate towards.However, in order to get there havingpride in what we do is a keyingredient. The only way to give abrand pride is to infuse it through allemployees and your supply chainpartners. Pride is another greatexample of a powerful brand signal.Pride is a by-product of having astrong purpose, a greatproduct/service/solution andempowering people to make adifference in their day jobs.
12: PLANSounds like an obvious onedoesn’t it. The importance ofa flexible and fluid plan thatguides rather than stifles is akey requirement in business.A 10 year plan, a 5year plan, a 1 yearplan – there is no one size fits all planthat’s for sure. The key thing is thatplanning adds rigour and discipline tothe process of setting your businesson a course for success and moreimportantly helping you navigateyour way there.
13: PRODUCTOne of the original Four Ps.Your product is at the core ofwhat you do.Modern marketing tells us that theold world, product-centric approachneeds to be refreshed with a morecustomer experience centricapproach. Today we need toconsider the notion of the ‘wholeproduct’ and not just the physicaland often functional side of what wedo. By wrapping a unique set ofservices, tools and experiencesaround our core product we canoften transform it into somethingmore compelling and unique.
14: PRICEHere’s a biggy. Pricedetermines profit so it’s ofinterest to every businessperson.How companies and brands price,bundle and discount products andservices is a hugely complex area.Mobile phone vendors are notoriousfor having multiple skews and tariffswhich make it impossible to work outthe best deal. In recent timesthrough the rise of Smartphones,cashback, codes and voucher brandslike Quidco and Vouchercloud haveemerged which adds another layer ofcomplexity to brand driven pricing.What’s vitally important in this multi-channel world is to make sure yourpricing is simple and consistent.
15: PLACEFrom eBay to pop-upshops, bricks and mortarto online, mobile apps toFacebook, TV totelephone, franchising todirect selling.The channels and places that wecan buy from are vast andgrowing. Managing this complexityof touch points is one of thebiggest headaches facingbusiness today. Choose yourchannels and places wisely; theyhave a huge impact on brandreputation and customerexperience.
16: PROMOTIONWe are all well versed in thetraditional marketingchannels from packaging toadvertising, sales promotionto PR.We’re all learning to blend these withthe emergence of social media,content and mobile marketing as wellas becoming Chief Data Officersalong the way. The critical factormoving forward is to build a crediblebrand platform first. Focus on shiftingfrom a push to a pull basedcommunications strategy and workheard to earn your customersattention rather than simply buy it.
17: PHYSICAL EVIDENCEThis is an interesting onebecause it forces us to thinkin more detail about thephysical artefacts, materialsand components that reflectthe brand experience we aretrying to create.For example: storefronts andmerchandising, uniforms andsignage take a great deal ofthought in traditional retailenvironments but equallyemployers are now looking at howthese same aspects lendthemselves to creating betterworking environments as well.
18: PROCESSMost organisations today arethe result of a complex webof business processes thathave been fine-tuned overthe years to form theoperational side of abusiness.This can include everything fromrecruitment to suppliermanagement, online ordering tocustomer service. With the advent ofnew technologies into the marketingdepartment such as emailmanagement, web site management,social media analytics and such likemore and more processes are beingcreated. In my view the challenge formarketers is to re-invent and re-imagine the processes that havemost impact on their business.